With the news that all 5 starters from Kentucky’s National Title team have declared for the NBA Draft, it has brought talk of the One and Done Rule to the forefront. The requirement of a high school player needing to be 19 years old and be one year removed from high school seems simple on the surface. The rule was implemented in order to combat the rising number of high school seniors bypassing college tfor the NBA. Instead of fixing a problem it made it even worse.
Ostensibly, when someone plays a college sport, they are referred to as a ‘student-athlete’. One and Done has made the student portion of that irrelevant and created a new breed of college athletes that have close to zero interest in academics. One one hand, why should these players care about books and classes if they’re going to leave after a year? After all, it’s not their main focus in attending college. On the other hand, that right there is the problem because colleges are meant to educate young people and prepare them for a job and their future. In that vein, playing several years of college basketball can be seen as a sort of internship for the NBA.
I could belabor the academic/student side more, but I realize that in this day and age there are talented high school players that want to go straight to the pros from high school. That certainly is their right, since, at the age of 18, they are adults and can choose for themselves. Could they benefit from a few years of playing college basketball? Absolutely. It could do wonders for their growth and maturity as both a player and a person. College is a great time, but if some talented player wants to pro right away, then they should be able to do just that.
Now you’re thinking this would get us right back where we were before One and Done was implemented, so something else must be done. The NFL rule forcing 3 years of college on players would never fly in the NBA, so that is out. What I believe would help everyone involved is to follow what pro baseball does. High school seniors are eligible for the MLB draft, so they can enter right then if they want. However, if they do decide to go to a four year college, then they have to stay there for 3 years before entering the draft again. This essentially brings together the solutions espoused by both sides in the One and Done debate. The chances of there be no restrictions on entering the NBA Draft or a 3 or 4 year one are equally unlikely because both sides are adamant in their views. So following the MLB model is a good compromise in that it gives both sides what they want. High schoolers can still go pro if they want and colleges keep their players for 3 years. It seems simple, but the likelihood of it ever being implemented seems unlikely due to the acrimony on both sides. Until then, One and Done is here to stay.